We Show Up By Not Showing Up

I heard this on Brene Brown’s podcast yesterday, her interview with Glennon Doyle, and it really struck me.

Right now, this is our movement, this is what we are called to do.

How we show up in the world right now, during COVID19, is by not showing up.

Staying indoors, cancelling plans, cutting ourselves off (physically) from the people we love.

It’s an important role for all of us, but especially those in leadership positions.

I truly believe that we will look back on this time and consider how our companies reacted. How did those businesses you love respond?

Were they ensuring the health and safety of their teams? Or were they prioritising profit?

Were they ensuring that they (the business owner) were okay at the expense of employees? Or were they committed to rising – or sinking – together?

I know that there will be companies I will avoid in the future, and companies I’ll be keen to support.

I saw a meme online that basically said, in every future job interview, they’ll be asking the interviewer how they responded to this crisis.

I like that idea.

Some honest mistakes have been made by some well meaning companies, of course. This is an unprecedented situation and none of us had the guidebook ready. We’ve been making it up and we continue to make it up.

For my criminal law firm, we recognised quickly that we were a front-line industry. The pandemic hasn’t stopped arrests, hasn’t cancelled all pending investigations and cases. Our clients need us. Our response had to balance keeping our team safe with providing a vital service. All around us, we saw non-essential businesses remain open. We can’t close before they do, I said more than once, to myself and others. Surely, the non-essential businesses have to close up shop before we do.

In the end, we closed before some of them did, because it was the right thing to do.

Daring leadership isn’t about making the decisions when there’s nothing to lose. It’s about making those same decisions when everything is on the line.

When you have no idea whether you’ll survive it, but you know you have to do what’s right.

When you know there’s an easier option, but that that option is the wrong one.

Those are the times when your commitment to making the decision is vital.  Those are the times when your character is revealed.

As Anna says so well in Frozen 2 (hello, this is lockdown, I can find a Disney song for every situation)… just do the next right thing.

And right now, you show up by not showing up*.

*Key workers: you are the heroes who make our society function. Thank you for your service, and may we all remember that the real heroes aren’t the ones with the capes or the most¬†Instagram likes.


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